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Redneck Dressage – Part Deux

Walk/Trot Champion at Double Rainbow Summer 2007

Yesterday, I posted the first installment of my brain child, Redneck Dressage. I hope you enjoyed it! Here’s the latest!

Redneck Dressage – Part Deux

No one seems to know my name at shows. I’m the girl with the horse whose tongue hangs out. No joke, I walked into the ring at a musical freestyle clinic earlier this year and in less than 60 seconds the clinician, from California I might add, looked up and said, ‘Oh, you’re the girl with the horse with the tongue, I’ve heard about you.’ Yes, yes, I AM the girl with the horse with the tongue. She hadn’t even been in town a full 48 hours!

When it comes to horses, somehow no one thinks it’s rude to walk right up and tell you how to fix it… Whatever ‘it’ is. Would someone do that with regards to your children? I think not! Picture yourself in Wal*Mart and having someone come up to say, ‘Hey, I noticed little Johnny over there seems to walk with a cant to the left and tends to slobber a lot. Have you ever thought about putting him in an elevated shoe or maybe lots of trot work to build that side up? Perhaps tying his mouth shut will stop the slobbering, too’ Umm, no.

Who does that? All bets are off when it comes to horses. They seem to forget you probably paid quite a bit of money for your horse and possibly/probably struggle with their monthly upkeep, vet bills, lessons, training, etc…  We love them like our kids and because of that, we’ve most likely consulted every vet, farrier, trainer, chiropractor and witch doctor within a 100 mile radius if there’s something wrong. The fact of the matter is, I’ll never be an Olympic level rider. Heck, if we’re being realistic, I doubt we ever do anything other than local shows. So, with that in mind, I don’t care if his tongue hangs to his knees… He’s perfect for me and I’m not concerned. I just avoid certain judges like the plague. Like the one that leaves remarks like, ‘Would have been an 8 if it wasn’t for the tongue’ and then gives you a four. Or the smart alecs who seem to come prepared with a new one liner for each movement. Some of my personal favorites are ‘be careful, you might trip on that,’ and ‘looks great from the right, too bad you had to go left.’ Ahhh! It just makes you want to scream, but hey, they’re the ones getting paid the big bucks, right?

While knocking a person’s horse is taboo, knocking the rider is fair game. You can say whatever you want about me, just don’t pick on my pony! I’ve been told some of the most awful things through the years that honestly didn’t hurt my feelings one bit. The best part is that we PAY for this abuse. We actually crave it. Whether we verbalize it or not, I think most of us know that deep down inside, 99% of the issues our horses have stem from US! We love them, so in turn, we’ll do whatever it takes to get them (and ourselves) to the promised land!

A prominent trainer out of Florida told me my horse had to develop the musculature I was so proud of just to carry my fat ass. You know what? He may have a point. Either way, my horse is a fine physical specimen, regardless of the reason. Another trainer of mine told me I couldn’t gallop on a race track when I was whining about the lack of available space to develop a nice working canter. Point well made!

My favorite knock ever is when I was just getting back into riding after 18 years off. I guess I was thinking I was still 16 and invincible and that horseback riding is just like riding a bike. Not so. Your balance shifts as you get older, gravity takes over and you’re no longer fearless. Keep in mind, you’re perched on 1,000+ pounds of horse and they tend to have a mind of their own. When I first stared competing, I took my precious Under Pressure into the show ring. While I love him dearly, someone really should have steered my dumb ass far, far away. I was no longer the rider I was as a teen. What possessed me to buy a six year old, green broke Thoroughbred after 18 years out of the saddle? Either way, we started showing in the walk/trot classes at the local hunter shows.

We were getting our butts kicked by 8 year olds in braids and bows, while I was just happy to have stayed in the ring. I’m all about positive experiences and celebrating the little victories. One day a woman asked my mother if I was her daughter as we were receiving our ribbons (6th place for me across the board) and if so, why I was so happy to be last? She clearly thought I was in the severe and profound category. My mom just laughed at the woman and told her we were just happy to be in the same Parish we started off in. I’m pretty sure it was the same woman who complained to show management later when I got my big, sweet veteran of all Royal Dutch Warmblood Paisano and entered the same classes. Clearly they were good with me riding a fractious Pressure, but not a game changing veteran like Paisano. Got it…

 

Paisano and his previous owner Allison Hecht

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